Guest Post by Lynn Gauker
Call it a space-age technique. A magic wand. Or a highly advanced but still relatively unknown computerized technology, although it’s existed for 20 years. Whatever label you give it, the Ultralign G2™ is revolutionizing how chiropractors treat patients’ neck, back and joint pain.
This smart tool was developed by SIGMA Instruments Methods Inc. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The G2™ uses technology NASA scientists have relied on to measure the integrity of exterior thermal protection tiles on spacecraft, says SIGMA President and CEO John Crunick.
Equally important, the device provides a long-awaited cure for those who have shied away from visiting a chiropractor. That is welcome news, particularly since Statistics Canada cites back problems as a key chronic condition in this country.
According to the Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA), about 4.5 million Canadians annually visit a chiropractor. Some two million of these Canadians live in Ontario.
However, these two million patients represent only 10 per cent of Ontarians who should seek chiropractic help, says Ottawa chiropractor Dr. Daniel Vandervoort. Fear of having their spine cracked and experiencing pain are why the other 90 per cent choose not to undergo chiropractic care, he says.
Diminishing patients’ fears
Introduced to the Canadian marketplace in 2010, the G2™ is changing the chiropractic landscape. One reason is its ability to minimize patients’ fears. For some chiropractors, 80 to 100 per cent of their patients are choosing the G2™.
“This equipment allows us to provide gentler treatment to a wider range of patients who experience back or joint pain, headaches or sciatica,” says Dr. Vandervoort. He and his wife, Dr. Sylvie Bordeleau, as well as other chiropractors, work in Beacon Hill and Rockland. Six chiropractic offices in and around Ottawa use the G2™.
Canadians suffering from lower back pain and other musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions account for one-third of missed work in this country, claims the CCA. Moreover, “There is a vast literature reporting that the point prevalence of low back pain is high and increasing,” according to the BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders journal.
More people are developing MSK problems from texting and staring down at their computers for several hours a day, says chiropractor Dr. Seth Pearl of Larchmont, New York. For all of these reasons, spinal problem sufferers seeking treatment has also intensified.
For 56-year-old Mike Closier of Ottawa, the Ultralign G2™ has been a lifesaver. “I love being in the gym, cycling, golfing and most other outdoor sports. Unfortunately, these activities were becoming more and more difficult for me,” explains Closier, a patient of Dr. Vandervoort. “I had 2
almost constant neck pain, and when I was on my feet for any length of time, my lower back would begin to tighten up and become very stiff, with a lot of pain.”
Because he was sceptical about undergoing manual chiropractic adjustments and was concerned about possible associated pain, for years, Closier chose not to visit a chiropractor. Until, as he puts it, his situation became constantly uncomfortable. Within two months of receiving G2™ treatment, Closier says, “I no longer had any pain in my neck or lower back. Before my adjustments, my neck was so bad that I couldn’t shoulder-check when driving. Now, I never have any issues. I could not recommend this chiropractic procedure enough.”
Increase in spinal issues among youth
Youth are increasingly joining older North Americans requiring MSK troubleshooting. “In the last seven or eight years, I’m seeing an increased incidence of younger and younger kids with back issues,” [similar to problems he typically sees in much older patients] says Dr. Pearl.
Speaking during a live G2™ demonstration on Fox News in December 2015, Dr. Pearl explained that as hand-held texting devices continue to decrease in size, users must crouch more and more while texting. This greatly impacts on their backs and necks.
Dr. Pearl said the danger point lies in how far your head is over your shoulders. Since people bend their neck, on average, two to four hours a day, texting and staring downwards can equate to adding four quarts of paint [to your head weight], he explained.
Enter the G2™. “The G2™ measures the fixation level of the neck [how stuck your neck is]. We take very gentle readings of the cervical spine,” said Dr. Pearl. “We don’t rack and crack anymore. We don’t guess, we test. So now we can do a very gentle adjustment on the neck.”
Industry experts claim computer-aided adjustments especially benefit seniors, young children and others who may fear manual adjustments, as well as pregnant women and people recuperating from surgery who cannot lay on their side for manual adjustments.
How the G2™ works
During G2™ treatment, a patient sits on a comfortable massage chair, typically with their head and arms extended forward and braced. Using a specialized wand connected to a close-by computerized screen, the chiropractor touches the patient’s vertebrae with gentle mechanical pulses. The wand can detect problematic spinal areas.
“This cutting-edge technology permits chiropractors to analyze the stiffness of the patient’s tissue or joints with greatly increased precision,” Dr. Vandervoort explains. “The wand then sends a signal back to the sensor (the computer). This information indicates whether there is body fluidity or rigidity.
“All of this occurs before the muscle can respond, providing the chiropractor with precise information on the best spinal adjustment level or optimal spinal segment to adjust,” he says. 3
“The wand gives the exact number of gentle taps on the spine needed to increase mobility and reduce nerve stress resulting from the joint restriction.
“The patient’s condition is then reanalyzed, and the patient can see the before and after improvement, on the screen.”
“The beauty of this instrument is the reliability of the data it generates, and its versatility, which can help with muscular dysfunction,” claims Montreal chiropractor Dr. Richard Roy. A former Université du Québec à Montréal researcher and lecturer in the Department of Kinanthropology (the study of human movement), Dr. Roy has instructed Canadian chiropractors on G2™ usage.
Fewer visits required
Dr. Vandervoort, a one-time G2™ student of Dr. Roy, says another benefit is the device treats patients comfortably, without their needing to turn or hyperextend parts of the body, head or neck. “This greatly reduces any issues associated with osteoporosis, vertebral artery conditions or additional concerns other techniques would address less well.” He adds, “Patients treated by the G2™ generally require fewer visits to the chiropractor than those receiving traditional treatment.”
John Crunick says the G2™ annually treats some 25 million patients in 34 countries. The tool is also used by veterinarians to treat animals in their care. Crunick expects global sales, including to Canada, to increase as the price of the G2™ comes down and as news of the tool’s benefits continues to spread. Optionally, he says, chiropractors may lease the device at a fairly nominal charge.
“It only takes one new patient a month for a chiropractor to recover the purchase cost of the G2™,” he says.